05/31/05 — Norwayne honors memory of student who died last year

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Norwayne honors memory of student who died last year

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 31, 2005 1:46 PM

One of the awards presented at Norwayne Middle School this spring honored the memory of a student who died a year ago in a trailer fire.

Michelle Darden, a sixth-grade teacher at the school, said that she and Stephen Frederick had Blair Long as one of their students the previous year. Both staff and students were shocked and saddened when Blair died in a weekend fire in late February 2004.

To keep their daughter's memory alive, Gay and Chris Long approached the school this year about presenting an award in Blair's name. The Blair Long Excellence and Education Award was to be given to a deserving sixth-grader with personal qualities similar to Blair's, Ms. Darden said.

"It was to be given to the student who exhibits loving, caring, generosity, good citizenship, is a good student and loves school," Ms. Darden said.

The sixth-grade teachers will nominate a student from that grade every year, and the recipient's name will be added to a plaque that will be displayed in the school office.

Brittany Ingram is the award's first recipient.

"I think it was extremely special that Brittany received it because she was Blair's best friend," Ms. Darden said. "When she first came in this year, we were struck by Brittany. She just reminded us of Blair. We had no idea at the time that she was Blair's best friend."

Brittany said she appreciated receiving the award and considered it an honor to be compared to her friend.

Mrs. Long said Kornegay Printing provided the plaque along with an individual engraved trophy Brittany received.